Atheism debate

Is there a god? What is the meaning of life?
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Tumult
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Re: Atheism debate

Post by Tumult »

Born_again wrote:I agree with you, Tumult. I wished to emphasise your point further as it is one of the standard issue falsehoods flung at atheists in debate. Despite the amount of times 'we' refute the ridiculous claim it still never seems to get through.
Interestingly, it sparked a debate on the Dawkins forums out of the frustration felt. Some argued that maybe there should some sort of unified consensus as to what an atheist 'code' should be. As you can imagine, it was laughed out of the water post-haste! The pro-code people obviously had not yet fully realised the full glory of atheism.


What is the glory of atheism? Where is the glory in lack of belief? Certainly science has made astounding discoveries and the universe is full of awe inspiring beauty but atheism offers no benefit to the people in and of itself. Freedom from the mental oppression of singular perspective dogmatic religious adherance is absolutely something we need but atheism brings nothing to the table. If there is to be any "code" it should be something atheists as well as "believers" can subscribe to. An atheist without moral/ethical guidelines is no better than a religious person with misguided rules of conduct. I understand that atheism in and of itself requires no "code" but I am interested to see what motivations atheists can bring to the table for the betterment of our world.
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LineontheHorizon
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Re: Atheism debate

Post by LineontheHorizon »

What is the glory of atheism? Where is the glory in lack of belief? Certainly science has made astounding discoveries and the universe is full of awe inspiring beauty but atheism offers no benefit to the people in and of itself. Freedom from the mental oppression of singular perspective dogmatic religious adherance is absolutely something we need but atheism brings nothing to the table. If there is to be any "code" it should be something atheists as well as "believers" can subscribe to. An atheist without moral/ethical guidelines is no better than a religious person with misguided rules of conduct. I understand that atheism in and of itself requires no "code" but I am interested to see what motivations atheists can bring to the table for the betterment of our world.


As a life long atheist, perhaps I can provide some insight into your questions in regards to glory. If you must use the term, glory, it would be to me the freedom to live a life without having to believe in claims that lack evidence. Even as a child, I found it extremely difficult to believe what was being taught in church. Still find it mind numbingly ridiculous. The freedom to think, the freedom to move beyond barbaric, sexist and meaningless drivel written thousands of years ago that are regarded even to this day, as holy. Wish death upon people for "offences" that are not even unlawful? Holy?

Atheists often argue that morality can be achieved without belief. That is most certainly true. One does not have to prescribe to a religious belief to be a moral person.

Are you suggesting that only those who prescribe to belief are capable of bringing "to the table" things that better the world? Are you joking? World renowned Scientists, Philosophers, Physicians, Teachers, the list goes on, who are not believers, are responsible for advances in everything from medicine, to technology and the environment.
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Re: Atheism debate

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wtw wrote:As a life long atheist, perhaps I can provide some insight into your questions in regards to glory. If you must use the term, glory, it would be to me the freedom to live a life without having to believe in claims that lack evidence. Even as a child, I found it extremely difficult to believe what was being taught in church. Still find it mind numbingly ridiculous. The freedom to think, the freedom to move beyond barbaric, sexist and meaningless drivel written thousands of years ago that are regarded even to this day, as holy. Wish death upon people for "offences" that are not even unlawful? Holy?

Atheists often argue that morality can be achieved without belief. That is most certainly true. One does not have to prescribe to a religious belief to be a moral person.

Are you suggesting that only those who prescribe to belief are capable of bringing "to the table" things that better the world? Are you joking? World renowned Scientists, Philosophers, Physicians, Teachers, the list goes on, who are not believers, are responsible for advances in everything from medicine, to technology and the environment.


I am suggesting that anyone who comes to the table ought to bring something that can better the world. I have never suggested that only believers are capable of such things but merely that atheism in and of itself offers no benefit to one's conduct. Advances in technology have been both a boon and bane to our existence on this world. I merely pointing out that some sort of positive motivation is needed if we are to live as one. Atheism provides no ultimate goal, no motivation, it is a lack of belief. Without a cause, goal or motivation towards the betterment of the world, atheism is just another ism.
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”
-Max Planck
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Re: Atheism debate

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I merely pointing out that some sort of positive motivation is needed if we are to live as one. Atheism provides no ultimate goal, no motivation, it is a lack of belief. Without a cause, goal or motivation towards the betterment of the world, atheism is just another ism.


Motivation comes from many sources. Natural things, support from family and friends, and even money. I disagree that atheism is without cause, goal or motivation. Belief also can mean a lot of things, not necessarily what has been handed down as religious belief and taken by many to be fact. I personally "believe" that the world would be a better place without religion. If there is cause goal or motivation, it is quite simple, and that is to live life without the intrusion of the many different versions of religious faith into things like the private lives of individuals, politics, public policy and education systems.
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Re: Atheism debate

Post by Nebula »

Amen.
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Re: Atheism debate

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Tumult wrote:I am suggesting that anyone who comes to the table ought to bring something that can better the world. I have never suggested that only believers are capable of such things but merely that atheism in and of itself offers no benefit to one's conduct. Advances in technology have been both a boon and bane to our existence on this world. I merely pointing out that some sort of positive motivation is needed if we are to live as one. Atheism provides no ultimate goal, no motivation, it is a lack of belief. Without a cause, goal or motivation towards the betterment of the world, atheism is just another ism.


The problem with this argument is that atheism is not simply a "lack of belief", it is a lack of belief in the supernatural. Outside of that atheism does not put any blinders or restrictions on conduct, morality, ethics, motivation and etcetera. To think that religion has a monopoly over these would be absurd. Atheism does not provide an ultimate goal, life does.


Regarding the OP's article:

It seems to be more of an argument for agnosticism than religion even though it is an critique against Dawkins methods by a believer. It also seems to be focused on R. Dawkins shortcomings and a belief that this man culminates the entire atheistic POV. I found very little in the article that actually debated against atheism.

The argument that the atheist POV is like looking at the universe through a narrow frame –
Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, even Dawkins himself provide grand views of the universe and a human existence that is full of wonder and hope. This is a common flaw/spin when attacking atheism, that somehow Atheists proscribe to an almost nihilistic POV.

The argument that human thought, imagination, and theological pov's are reliable –
I think this issue has already been satisfactory answered in this thread.

The argument that an atheists lack of experience with God and by extension the lack of physical evidence of God is not an argument or valid method of discounting the existence of God –
Again, partly answered already in this thread. If there is no God no evidence will be found and none has been found thus far, also, many Atheists have had previous experience with God.

The rest of the article seems to be an ad hominem attack against Dawkins.

I've only covered the points I found relevant and even then only very briefly as this post is getting too long.
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Re: Atheism debate

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A can understand the idea that the world would be better without religion but the goal, motivation or cause of simply “life without religion” will not work. Unfortunate as it is, some people can not perceive the world without religion and it simply will not go away.
I agree that religion should be kept out of private life, politics, etc however, I think theological education is a strong subject to help understand how other people perceive the world.

A complete rejection of the existence of anything supernatural is limiting to human study. Whether there actually exists supernatural elements or not, the fact is that some people perceive the world as containing supernatural elements and they may be able to offer knowledge or discoveries that are beneficial to human existence.

“…atheism does not put any blinders or restrictions on conduct, morality, ethics, motivation and etcetera.”

This is a problem as people are frequently selfish and willing to harm others to achieve their own agenda. Without some additional motivation beyond “no religion” there is no assuredness that just because somebody doesn’t believe in the supernatural that they have good will towards other people. I understand and appreciate that many atheists are moral people without malice to harm others but I stand by the idea that some prime motivation is necessary if we are to live as one on this world.

It seems to boil down to this in my perceptions: The religious side says the world would be better if everyone followed their one and only god. The atheists say the world would be better with no religion period. Both sides can be single minded with strictly defined perceptions. If both sides can fit something as simple as love each other into their agenda it would open perceptions to new levels.
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Re: Atheism debate

Post by Nebula »

Tumult wrote:A complete rejection of the existence of anything supernatural is limiting to human study.


While learned atheists would say they don't completely reject the existing of anything supernatural, so long as it has some basis of proof. In fact, some atheists would counter that a complete rejection of the existence of non-proven supernatural things is freeing and uplifting.

This is a problem as people are frequently selfish and willing to harm others to achieve their own agenda. Without some additional motivation beyond “no religion” there is no assuredness that just because somebody doesn’t believe in the supernatural that they have good will towards other people.


Given the history of the world, there is no assuredness that just because somebody does believe in the supernatural that they have good will towards other people.

I understand and appreciate that many atheists are moral people without malice to harm others but I stand by the idea that some prime motivation is necessary if we are to live as one on this world.


So should the prime motivation be a real one or, as some atheists have put it, a make-believe one?
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Re: Atheism debate

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Tumult wrote:A can understand the idea that the world would be better without religion but the goal, motivation or cause of simply “life without religion” will not work. Unfortunate as it is, some people can not perceive the world without religion and it simply will not go away.
I agree that religion should be kept out of private life, politics, etc however, I think theological education is a strong subject to help understand how other people perceive the world.

A complete rejection of the existence of anything supernatural is limiting to human study. Whether there actually exists supernatural elements or not, the fact is that some people perceive the world as containing supernatural elements and they may be able to offer knowledge or discoveries that are beneficial to human existence.

“…atheism does not put any blinders or restrictions on conduct, morality, ethics, motivation and etcetera.”

This is a problem as people are frequently selfish and willing to harm others to achieve their own agenda. Without some additional motivation beyond “no religion” there is no assuredness that just because somebody doesn’t believe in the supernatural that they have good will towards other people. I understand and appreciate that many atheists are moral people without malice to harm others but I stand by the idea that some prime motivation is necessary if we are to live as one on this world.

It seems to boil down to this in my perceptions: The religious side says the world would be better if everyone followed their one and only god. The atheists say the world would be better with no religion period. Both sides can be single minded with strictly defined perceptions. If both sides can fit something as simple as love each other into their agenda it would open perceptions to new levels.


In Religious circles, there are those that ignore their teachings, and do bad things. In Atheism, there are those that do bad things.... Just having a religion does not make one a good, and righteous person. I'm Agnostic, I'm kind of in the middle, with a leaning more so to the Atheist side. You seem to be looking at the whole picture in a Black and White way of thinking, where there are only those that are religious, and those that are not religious... Fortunately, mankind is a bit smarter than that.
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Re: Atheism debate

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itstheALR wrote:Because Creationists do not always discount evidence of evolution, but atheists always discount evidence of God....."


Evidence of God? What is this evidence you speak of?
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Re: Atheism debate

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fvkasm2x wrote:
itstheALR wrote:Because Creationists do not always discount evidence of evolution, but atheists always discount evidence of God....."


Evidence of God? What is this evidence you speak of?



True... A book, transcribed from a bunch of old paper does not make for good evidence.
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Re: Atheism debate

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fvkasm2x wrote:
itstheALR wrote:Because Creationists do not always discount evidence of evolution, but atheists always discount evidence of God....."


Evidence of God? What is this evidence you speak of?


Let's make it a little simpler by helping each other out.

itstheALR, if you could let us know by which method you disproved the existence of Zeus, Apollo, Thor, and about 4,500 other recorded gods, then we could apply the same method to disprove your god. Fair enough?
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Re: Atheism debate

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writerdave wrote:While learned atheists would say they don't completely reject the existing of anything supernatural, so long as it has some basis of proof. In fact, some atheists would counter that a complete rejection of the existence of non-proven supernatural things is freeing and uplifting.


I don't think there is enough evidence either way to discount the existence of the supernatural.

writerdave wrote:Given the history of the world, there is no assuredness that just because somebody does believe in the supernatural that they have good will towards other people.


Agreed. People of all backgrounds do bad things.

writerdave wrote:So should the prime motivation be a real one or, as some atheists have put it, a make-believe one?


My position is that Love should be the prime motivation. Love is an intuitive and generally accepted and understood concept that is an integral part of people's consciousness experience. Love neither requires nor excludes belief in the supernatural.
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Re: Atheism debate

Post by steven lloyd »

fvkasm2x wrote:
itstheALR wrote:Because Creationists do not always discount evidence of evolution, but atheists always discount evidence of God....."


Evidence of God? What is this evidence you speak of?


The creation of an infinite universe, purposeful mutation and evolution, quantum physics, the creation of self-aware life. These are just a few of the things that provide evidence for God. It is, however, important here not to confuse evidence with proof.

One the other hand, the scientific theories explaining the creation of an infinite universe, purposeful mutation and evolution, quantum physics, the creation of self-aware life all contain ideas that provide evidence to support (not prove) said theories.

The more credible scientist recognizes alternate explanations can be deduced from the same evidence – and in case of Creationism vs. Evolutionism, an explanation does not even need to be mutually exclusive.
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Re: Atheism debate

Post by fvkasm2x »

The big thing for me is that Scientists can either prove it to me, or give me a solid reason why I should believe what they say.

Digging up fossils, carbon dating, interstellar microscopes, space travel, etc... all show me something. A book with a nice story is lacking. Remember, "religious" people thousands of years ago thought the Sun was a god.

Case in point: there was a flood to purge the earth of sinners and cleanse the earth.

Or... dopplar radar showed a storm front coming in from the west and chances of precipitation was 100%.

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